Baseball

A Season to Savor: Caleb Stewart and Catawba Baseball

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In just one year, 10-year-old Caleb Stewart of Advance has been drafted by Catawba Indians Baseball, experienced a season on the team, and even acquired a 2014 Conference Tournament Championship ring after his team's winning season. To say he's ready for baseball season would be a gross understatement; more accurate to say that he's counting down the days.

Caleb is "just one of the guys, but he's younger," explains Indians Coach Jim Gantt, who says he's proud to have this #34 on his team.

Caleb, the third child of Catawba alumna Shea Stewart '96 and her husband Adam, has Cystic Fibrosis. Thanks to an organization called Team Impact that connects college teams with children who have incurable diseases, Caleb was able to connect with Gantt and Catawba Baseball.

Shea Stewart says it was Caleb's case worker at Wake Forest's Brenner's Children Hospital who first suggested that her son, a Little League baseball player and a former sheep riding champion, contact Team Impact. "I told them that we weren't interested," Shea remembered, adding that it was Caleb's doctor who insisted that we "let Caleb have this and let him do this."

caleb5.jpgFinally, Shea gave the case worker a list of colleges within driving distance of her home and Shea's alma mater was on that list. An e-mail from Team Impact to Coach Gantt helped make the connection. Caleb and his mom came to meet Gantt and his players, and this young man was officially drafted, getting his own uniforms, a locker and a jersey that his new teammates had signed. Caleb, who typically plays first or shortstop, even threw out the first pitch for the Indians' game on March 14, 2014.

"After that, we went to all the home games and several of the away games," Shea recalled. "Caleb was usually at practice at least twice a week when they had practices and we went to most games.

"These guys have come to our house to eat dinner. They've come to watch him play ball. To me, it's no longer about baseball; it's more like they've become friends and family. Caleb is very shy, but he takes the game of baseball extremely serious. He's not playing around. In his mind, that is his baseball team and that is his coach and he has got to do his very best."

caleb4.jpgAs the spring 2014 season came to a close with a conference championship, it was Caleb who walked out on the field to accept the team's trophy. He was the team's captain. It was Caleb who was lifted onto the shoulders of Catawba player, Shaefer Shepard.

"He's quiet, but he's a good baseball player," Gantt declares. "He has a good arm. He smiles all the time and he eats all of the time."

"I don't see how Caleb can have the effect on them that they've had on him. They are making over him when he gets there. If they have batting practice, he bats with them. He's with them. You would think he's one of the players. They make over him and are so encouraging. They holler for him and cheer him on. It's like he has 40 big brothers," Shea explains.

And even during Caleb's down times, his team has been there for him. He was scheduled to go into the hospital for a couple of weeks this fall around the time his Little League season was ending. He asked his doctor if he could delay going into the hospital to play his final game of the season and the doctor agreed.

caleb3.jpg"Coach Gantt and the entire team got on vans and went to that game," Shea shares. "Caleb got a homerun that night and those boys went crazy. They even gave him a care package to take to the hospital with him and several guys even visited him in the hospital.

"This whole thing has been nothing that I've expected," she continues. "We're just really overwhelmed. Just when we think things couldn't get any better, they outdo themselves."

As 2015 looms, Caleb and his team are making plans, and his mother, who never watched a Catawba baseball game while she was a student at the college, is anticipating being in the stands to watch her son and his Catawba teammates.

"He's looking forward to spring and the team is going to Alabama in February and Caleb's wanting to go to Alabama. He's excited. He hasn't had a chance to get to know all of the new guys."

caleb6.jpgNor have the new guys had a chance to get to know Caleb, but when they do, Gantt is sure it will make a lasting impression.

"Being associated with Catawba Baseball is not only good for Caleb, but it's good for our guys," Gantt concludes. "It's a privilege to be able to play college sports and being with Caleb reminds us of that privilege and that it is a privilege, not a right."

Gantt's players play their first home game of the new season in a double header that begins at 2 p.m. against Belmont Abbey on Sunday, February 1.

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Today's Events

Track/Field @ USC Indoor Open,
Lacrosse (W) @ Barton, ppd.,, noon
Baseball @ Tusculum, 1:00VideoStats
Tennis (W) v. Mount Olive (Piedmont Indoor Cts), 1:30
Tennis (M) v. Mount Olive (Piedmont Indoor Cts), 1:30
Basketball (W) vs. LINCOLN MEMORIAL, 2:00AudioVideoStats
Softball @ Young Harris, 3:00VideoStats
Baseball @ Tusculum, 4:00VideoStats
Basketball (M) vs. LINCOLN MEMORIAL, 4:00AudioVideoStats
Softball v. Columbus St., 5:30VideoStats

Calendar

«February 2020»
1
February 1

Basketball (W) @ UVA-Wise 54-65

Softball vs. AUGUSTA 6-5

Basketball (M) @ UVA-Wise 67-66

Baseball vs. Columbus St. (Steinbrenner Field) 2-6

Softball vs. AUGUSTA 11-1

2
February 2

Baseball vs. Saint Leo (Steinbrenner Field) 12-3

Softball vs. COLUMBUS ST. 3-2

Softball vs. COLUMBUS ST. 3-1

34
February 4

Tennis (M) @ Lees-McRae 1-6

5
February 5

Basketball (W) @ Wingate 59-48

Basketball (M) @ Wingate 95-91

67
February 7

Track/Field @ Camel City Invite (Day 1) 

Tennis (W) @ Limestone 5-2

Tennis (M) @ Limestone 2-5

8
February 8

Track/Field @ Camel City Invite (Day 2)

Lacrosse (M) @ Belmont Abbey 6-18

Basketball (W) vs. MARS HILL 85-49

Baseball vs. WV STATE 10-0

Basketball (M) vs. MARS HILL 113-97

9
February 9

Baseball vs. WV STATE 15-9

Baseball vs. WV STATE 10-1

10
February 10

Golf (M) @ Spring Invite Intercollegiate - Day 1 (St. Johns CC) 

Track/Field @ Queens Multis (Day 1) 

11
February 11

Track/Field @ Queens Multis (Day 2)

Golf (M) @ Spring Invite Intercollegiate - Day 2 (St. Johns CC) 11th of 20

12
February 12

Basketball (W) vs. COKER 78-61

Basketball (M) vs. COKER 90-76

1314
February 14

Lacrosse (W) vs. MOUNT OLIVE 2-20

15
February 15

Baseball vs. SHIPPENSBURG 9-6

Lacrosse (M) @ Mount Olive 5-10

Basketball (W) @ Carson-Newman 86-96

Softball vs. LEES-McRAE 1-2

Basketball (M) @ Carson-Newman 74-61

Baseball vs. SHIPPENSBURG 7-2

Softball vs. LEES-McRAE 5-6

16
February 16

Softball @ UNC Pembroke 3-1

Baseball vs. SHIPPENSBURG 12-1

Softball @ UNC Pembroke 7-2

17
February 17

Golf (W) @ Converse Invite - Day 1 (Carolina CC)

Tennis (W) vs. SHAW 7-0

Tennis (M) vs. SHAW 6-1

18
February 18

Golf (W) @ Converse Invite - Day 2 (Carolina CC) 3rd of 11

19
February 19

Softball vs. FRANCIS MARION, ppd. 1 p.m.

Lacrosse (W) vs. ERSKINE 19-8

Softball vs. FRANCIS MARION, ppd. 3 p.m.

Baseball @ Mount Olive 8-5

Basketball (W) vs. QUEENS 62-51

Basketball (M) vs. QUEENS 84-94

2021
February 21

Beach Volleyball @ Coastal Carolina 0-5

Beach Volleyball @ Coastal Carolina 0-5

22
February 22

Track/Field @ USC Indoor Open 

Lacrosse (W) @ Barton, ppd., noon

Baseball @ Tusculum 1 p.m.

Tennis (W) v. Mount Olive (Piedmont Indoor Cts) 1:30 p.m.

Tennis (M) v. Mount Olive (Piedmont Indoor Cts) 1:30 p.m.

Basketball (W) vs. LINCOLN MEMORIAL 2 p.m.

Softball @ Young Harris 3 p.m.

Baseball @ Tusculum 4 p.m.

Basketball (M) vs. LINCOLN MEMORIAL 4 p.m.

Softball v. Columbus St. 5:30 p.m.

23
February 23

Softball @ Young Harris 9 a.m.

Tennis (M) vs. NORTH GEORGIA 10 a.m.

Tennis (W) vs. NORTH GEORGIA 10 a.m.

Softball v. Shorter 11:30 a.m.

Baseball @ Tusculum 1 p.m.

24
February 24

Golf (W) @ Battle of Hilton Head (Palmetto Dunes - Jones Course) - Day 1

25
February 25

Golf (W) @ Battle of Hilton Head (Palmetto Dunes - Jones Course) - Day 2

Tennis (W) @ Belmont Abbey 2 p.m.

Baseball vs. NORTH GREENVILLE 3 p.m.

26
February 26

Lacrosse (M) vs. YOUNG HARRIS 4 p.m.

Basketball (W) @ Anderson 5:30 p.m.

Basketball (M) @ Anderson 7:30 p.m.

27
February 27

Softball @ Belmont Abbey 1 p.m.

Softball @ Belmont Abbey 3 p.m.

28
February 28

Swimming @ ECAC Championships (Day 1)

Tennis (W) vs. FRANCIS MARION 1 p.m.

Tennis (M) vs. FRANCIS MARION 1 p.m.

Baseball @ Queens 2 p.m.

29
February 29

Swimming @ ECAC Championships (Day 2)

Track/Field @ SAC Indoor Championships (Day 1)

Baseball @ Queens 11 a.m.

Lacrosse (W) vs. MARS HILL 1 p.m.

Baseball @ Queens 2 p.m.

Basketball (W) @ Lenoir-Rhyne 2 p.m.

Softball @ Newberry 2 p.m.

Softball @ Newberry 4 p.m.

Basketball (M) @ Lenoir-Rhyne 4 p.m.

Mouse over the red calendar dates to display events on those days. Click to open the full-size calendar.


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